New novel paints picture of sinister Philly cult obsessed with artist Marcel Duchamp [audio]

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 Augustus Rose is the author of ''The Ready-Made Thief,'' his first novel. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Augustus Rose is the author of ''The Ready-Made Thief,'' his first novel. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A new novel is released this week about an underground cult obsessed with the work of the artist Marcel Duchamp, and a runaway teenager struggling to survive it.

The novel, “The Readymade Thief,” is set in Philadelphia, following the denizens of its abandoned buildings and low-lying places where a group of nefarious men seek out secrets they believe of buried in the conceptual works of artist Marcel Duchamp.

Author Augustus Rose is not, himself, a native of Philadelphia. He is from the San Francisco Bay Area, now living in Chicago. Aside from a few research trips, he has no connection to Philly.

He is, however, a longtime fan of Duchamp, who is deeply collected by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He wanted to write a novel about the artist. The city came in tow.

“The city itself just resonated with me right away,” said Rose. “If I didn’t have to set it in Philadelphia, I would have set it here anyway. It’s such a perfect city for the story .”

You can hear the interview by clicking the play button at the top of this page.

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